Sweden to pensioners: ‘prove you’re alive’

Swedish pensioners living abroad will soon be receiving a letter from the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) asking them to fill in a form and report in to the nearest embassy. The reason – to prove they’re alive.

Behind the new scheme is the agency’s wish to prevent a situation akin to the one that was revealed in cash-strapped European neighbour Greece, where authorities found that they were continually paying out pensions to people who had died long ago.

”We just want to be sure the person is alive so that we are not paying out money to someone deceased,” said Per-Ola Hallberg of the authority to news agency TT.

The pensioners will therefore be receiving forms annually that they need to fill in and present in person at the nearest embassy, in order to prove they are still alive.

According to the pensions authority, 123,000 Swedes have chosen to leave the country after retiring. Most are resident in Finland, Denmark, Norway and Germany.

Swedish citizens in these countries won’t be receiving the forms as the authorities in these countries provide Sweden with the information needed.

Instead, the forms will be sent out to the 50,000 or so Swedish pensioners resident in other parts of the world. And if they fail to answer within the stipulated 105 days, payments will cease.

If the agency finds that someone has died, the already paid out monies will be demanded back.

However, according to Hallberg, it is seldom a question of more than a few months’ payments.


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